Ordinary Time Earnings

What is ordinary time earnings?

OTE is the amount paid to employees for their ordinary hours of work. OTE includes payments such as commissions and shift loadings.

Employers use:

  • Ordinary time earnings (OTE) to work out the minimum super guarantee contribution for employees. 
  • Salary and wages to work out the super guarantee charge (SGC). SGC is only needed if the minimum super guarantee contribution was not paid by the due date. Salary and wages are similar to OTE but also includes any overtime payments.

Payment types


Payment Salary or wages OTE
Overtime hours over and above the ordinary hours stated in an award or agreement Yes No
Overtime where the ordinary hours of work are not stated in an award or agreement, or not separated from other hours Yes- all hours worked Yes- all hours worked

Casual work, piece work and commissions

Payment Salary or wages OTE
Casual employee shift loadings Yes Yes
Casual employee overtime payments Yes No
Piece-rates – no ordinary hours of work stated Yes Yes
Commission Yes Yes
An empty subway station at night, representing the concept of ordinary time earnings.


Payment Salary or wages OTE
Allowance that are not a predetermined amount to offset a particular expense (for example, allowances for paperwork completion) Yes Yes
Allowance by way of unconditional extra payment (for example, the employee has complete discretion on whether to spend the allowance) Yes Yes
Expense allowance expected to be used in full No No
Danger or site allowance (these are OTE unless they are intended to offset particular expenses) Yes Yes
Retention allowance Yes Yes
On-call allowance outside ordinary hours of work No No
Hourly on-call allowance for ordinary hours of work for doctors Yes Yes


Payment Salary or wages OTE
Reimbursement of expenses, including travel costs No No
Payment for unfair dismissal No No
Workers’ compensation – returned to work Yes Yes
Workers’ compensation – not working No No
A neon sign that says, 'Time is precious, representing the concept of ordinary time earnings.


Payment Salary or wages OTE
Performance bonus Yes Yes
Christmas bonus Yes Yes
Bonus labelled as ex gratia but in respect of ordinary hours work Yes No
Bonus in respect of overtime only Yes No


Payment Salary or wages OTE
Annual leave Yes Yes
Annual leave loading – clearly linked to lost opportunity to work overtime Yes No
Annual leave loading – all other Yes Yes
Family and Domestic Violence leave Yes Yes
Sick leave Yes Yes
Parental leave – e.g. maternity leave, paternity leave, adoption leave No No
Ancillary leave – e.g. jury duty, defence reserve service No No
Long service leave Yes Yes

Termination payments

Payment Salary or wages OTE
Termination payments – in lieu of notice Yes Yes
Termination payments – unused annual leave, long service leave or sick leave Yes No

This article is general information only and does not provide advice to address your personal circumstances. To make an informed decision you should contact an appropriately qualified professional.